Shelter and People’s Postcode Lottery: helping families through the housing emergency

Published: by Matt La Faci

Sireena crouches beside a low table in her home, arranging a vase of yellow and orange roses.

Shelter is pleased to announce our new partnership with the People’s Postcode Lottery. This year we will receive £400,000 in funding raised by players of People’s Postcode Lottery. We will use this funding to make the long-term changes necessary so that families across Britain have access to a safe and secure home. People just like Sireena.

Sireena’s story

Sireena and her son Ethan endured homelessness for six years. Below is their story in her own words:

‘We were evicted from a privately rented studio flat in Hackney as my landlord wanted to sell as the rest of the area was being redeveloped. Ethan and I were put out on the streets with our bags and possessions.

I was advised to make a self-referral to Shelter and I have to say from that first phone call I actually felt the relief of someone listening to me, someone was going to help me out of the nightmare I was living in.

By this point, I was struggling with a deep depression and chronic pain.

Shelter allocated me a support worker and he really was our saviour. He managed to get hold of the right people at the council and with his help we moved to a property.

It seemed fine at first – a few repairs needed to be done, but it was clean and had a proper kitchen. It felt like a home. But then, autumn arrived – and with it came the damp. Whenever there was rainfall, water would seep through the walls, covering everything in mould. Ethan’s room was so bad we had to move him out. From then on, he either had to sleep on the sofa, or back in with me. Everything in his room was destroyed.

I’m asthmatic and had previously been diagnosed with fibromyalgia. I was having asthma attacks so bad I could barely breathe. Eventually, with help from Shelter again, the council installed a dehumidifier to temporarily protect us from the damp.

We were in that accommodation for over a year, and we finally moved the next July, during the pandemic, into a permanent social home. Thanks to Shelter we have finally settled into a home of our own.

During all of this, Ethan became my young carer. While he tried to take each day in his stride and was getting great grades at school, I know living like this was hard for him. The lasting effects of being a homeless child and adolescent are something we’re still dealing with. I truly praise and admire his strength through everything.’

I genuinely don’t know where I would be without the help and support of Shelter. They were there for me when no one else was, to advocate and be a voice when it too often felt like no one was listening. I will always stand alongside them in the fight to end homelessness.

Sireena and her teenage son Ethan both sit at a glass table with a plate of biscuits on it. Sireena is holding Ethan's hand and they are both laughing.

Polly Neate, Shelter’s CEO, had this to say about the partnership:

‘We are thrilled that Shelter will be getting the long-term support of the players of People’s Postcode Lottery. Last month it was revealed that, since 2019, there have been 55 children who have died while homeless in temporary accommodation. This is simply unacceptable. We can’t thank the players enough for joining our fight to make sure everyone has a safe and secure home in which they can build a life and achieve their full potential.’

You can find out more about the People’s Postcode Lottery on their website.

Supported by players of People's Postcode Lottery - Awarded finds from Postcode Support Trust